Eczema symptoms can come and go. One day, your skin is fine and the next, you may experience a flare-up. You have to understand that this is usually caused by triggers. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is the key to remaining symptom-free, and with the right approach, you can even go years without having a bout of eczema.
The Most Important Step to Preventing Eczema Symptoms
The best way to prevent eczema symptoms is to avoid your triggers. However, you need to identify your triggers first, which is not always easy because they can vary from those of someone else’s. Start a journal and take note of your flare-ups, including the possible causes, such as skin care products or food.
The sooner you identify your triggers, the better you can avoid them and minimize your risk of future flare ups. If you’re unsure of your triggers or don’t know how to identify them, start with your diet.
Can Food Trigger Your Symptoms?
Certain food items can trigger symptoms for many people with eczema. If you suspect that your symptoms are being caused by food, you can try an elimination diet. Start by eliminating foods that are known to cause flare-ups, including dairy products, eggs, nuts and food items with gluten, and see if your symptoms improve.1
On the other hand, you can increase your intake of foods that benefit the immune system and may help prevent eczema symptoms,2 specifically those that contain beneficial bacteria, like fermented foods.
Some of the best choices include fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, natto and traditionally cultured yogurt made from raw milk from grass-fed cows.
How to Prevent Eczema Symptoms
Aside from foods, there are many other causes of flare-ups. To help manage your eczema and prevent symptoms, here are some tips you can try:3
• Clear the dust. Many people with eczema, especially children, are allergic to dust mites. This is why you should keep these possible triggers to a minimum. Get rid of rugs, carpeting and blinds, which can hold a lot of dust. Wash curtains and bed linens at least once a week using hot water, and give the entire room a thorough cleaning as well.
• Prevent dry skin. Skin dryness is one of the top causes of flare-ups. Apply a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer daily, or better yet, use a natural moisturizer like virgin coconut oil.4
Dry skin is also a sign that your body needs more omega-3 fats. Consume more fish, but to ensure minimal contamination risk, choose wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies or sardines. An omega-3 supplement like krill oil can also be beneficial if you have limited access to these foods.5
• Choose your clothes carefully. Fabrics like wool and synthetics can trigger bouts of eczema. Instead, wear loose clothes made of 100 percent cotton, because they provide the best comfort and are “breathable.”6 Make sure to wash new clothes thoroughly to eliminate irritants like dye residue.
• Use only gentle soaps. Choose mild soaps that can clean your skin without eliminating its natural oils. Antibacterial soaps typically cause dryness and most of them use the active ingredient triclosan, which is harmful to human health and the environment.
• Select your detergent cautiously. Many laundry detergents contain harsh ingredients that can trigger your symptoms. Look for fragrance-free, neutral pH products that are easier on your skin. Additionally, use the double rinse cycle when doing laundry to ensure you get all the soap out from your clothes.
• Minimize stress in your life. Stress can further promote inflammation in the body, causing or worsening your symptoms. There are many options for managing stress, such as meditation, breathing exercises and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
EFT is an energy psychology tool that can help reprogram how your body reacts to stress, thus reducing your risk of developing adverse health effects.